Research Articles

Legal Traditions and Competition Policy

Legal Traditions and Competition Policy

  • Dr Cassey Lee
  • The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance 45 (2005) 236–257
  • 2005


This paper examines the relationship between legal tradition and competition policy. Qualitative and anecdotal evidence suggest there are some differences in the competition laws of countries with different legal traditions. Such evidence include differences in the structure and content of compe- tition law, the lack of convergence in terms of substantive decision standards, and the institutions and mechanisms for judicial enforcement of competition law. Quantitative analyses involving cross- country regressions indicate that legal tradition does not have any impact on the decision to implement competition policy. However, countries with German civil law tradition do have a higher probability of implementing pre-merger notification in their competition laws compared to their counterparts with English common law. The length of the competition agency head’s appointment and the po- litical/apolitical nature of his/her appointment do not seem to be affected by legal tradition. The performance of competition law enforcement is also not affected by legal tradition.

Keywords: Competition law; Developing countries; Coasian bargain

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